Specsavers claims it can handle many tasks now carried out by GPs

Optician and hearing aid chain Specsavers claims it will soon be able to handle simple medical procedures which are now taken care of by family doctors in their own shops.

Opticians and hearing specialists increasingly use more cutting-edge technology, Specsavers director Remco Berkel told the Financieele Dagblad on Tuesday. ‘This affords us the opportunity to take over some frontline care from busy doctors’ practices,’ he added.

Berkel said syringing ears was a case in point. ‘We often refer our customers to their general practitioner to have their ears cleaned. But we can do this task just as well as any doctor’s assistant. And our retinal scanners can be used for preventive tests for diabetes,’ he added.

Berkel said Specsavers is going to discuss the options with health insurers. In the UK, Specsavers’ home market, plans are already in place to use some of the shops for front line medical care.

Dutch insurers are more hesitant, the FD said. Zilveren Kruis said there is a good reason why medical procedures are carried out by specialists. ‘Syringing an ear is not a simple treatment. And doctors and their assistants are trained to do this. We have yet to determine if others can do this.’

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